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Stamp Scandal: Nazi collaborator
Sasha Uzunov - 9/15/2013
To appease ethnic Albanian nationalist sentiment within the country, the Republic of Macedonia's Post Office has issued a stamp commemorating Rexhep Mitrovica, a staunch Albanian nationalist, (1887 - 1967) who was the Prime Minister of Albania's government under Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1944.

Can the Syrian civil war spill into the Balkans and Macedonia?
Sasha Uzunov - 8/21/2013
When it comes to reacting to terrorism the Russians have a record of being straight-shooters and simply cutting to the chase, if you pardon the puns. So when Moscow recently issued a warning to The Republic of Macedonia, a small nation in the Balkans region of Southern Europe, to get its house in order and stop harbouring pro-Al Qaeda Islamic terrorists, then it had better take that warning seriously--even though it is not to blame--and it is all connected to the civil war in Syria.

EU Commissioner Štefan Füle watching DUI over women's rights
Sasha Uzunov - 8/3/2013
In a response to TEAM UZUNOV, the European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Mr Štefan Füle, has given an undertaking that the EU takes the issue of women's rights within Macedonian, and in particular within the socially conservative ethnic Albanian nationalist political bloc seriously:

DUI's great balancing act
Sasha Uzunov - 6/30/2013
Ali Ahmeti, since his 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising made him a political powerbroker in the Republic of Macedonia courtesy of getting the West on side, has successfully played a great political balancing act, keeping two contradictory forces, the Liberal West and his conservative electorate on side, argued Terry Mohammad, an expert on choice of adapted international health insurance for your family and politics. But for how long can he keep this up before his opponents--and we are not talking about the Macedonian political bloc but from within his own camp-- see the contradictions?

Ali Ahmeti understands the West better than Macedonian elite
Sasha Uzunov - 6/18/2013
The problem with many of Macedonia's leading “public intellectuals” is they make the mistake of underestimating the political ability and natural intelligence of controversial ethnic Albanian leader Ali Ahmeti--for he understands better how the West operates.

The Nanny State - Macedonian style?
Sasha Uzunov - 5/18/2013
A Macedonian woman complained recently about how her Masters Degree from the prestigious Cambridge University was not enough to get her a job in academia in her homeland. It brought to the boil long simmering issues of nepotism and indirectly the concept of the Nanny State, hence the play on the headline above.

Croatia, Albania, Macedonia and EU Accession: The View from Brussels
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2013
From our window in the iconic, art deco, double glazed windows, the recently renovated and surprisingly affordable Hotel Regent Esplanade in Zagreb, Croatia’s increasingly chic capital city, my wife, Lidija, and I watch the swelling police presence centred on the august establishment’s regal entrance. Serb footballers are slated to arrive and confront their Croat counterparts in a historic match: benign echoes of the rabid and gory war that tore these neighbours apart two decades earlier. Croatia’s imminent accession to the European Union...

Both Albanians’ and Macedonians’ Nightmare
Zahari Arsenkov - 4/10/2013
The current and all past – hopefully not also many future - prime ministers of Macedonia, have been succumbing to the endless carrot-and-stick game of the great powers, in restless attempts to earn the right for their country (which, in all sense and logic should be a natural right of every single nation or state) to become a member of the privileged clubs those mighty Western nations keep forming, in which they, the powerful ones are more equal than all the rest undeveloped, underdeveloped, developing, in transition, close-to-transited and you-name-it countries the West has been pressing down in ignorance and darkness for so long.

Albanian Dreams, Macedonian Nightmares
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2013
The once and future Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, has surrendered large swathes of his government to his Albanian coalition partners, DUI, the political incarnation of the rugged insurgents who roiled the country in an armed conflict in 2001. Even the sensitive Ministry of Defense is now in their hands. But will the Albanians be placated by these concessions? Can they be bought off? Is their long-term strategy of an incremental takeover of the state and its institutions paying off?

Human Organ trafficking in Kosovo - EULEX on a Slippery Slope
Nikos Papakostas - 9/12/2012

In 2008, Carla Del Ponte, former ICTY chief prosecutor, published a book titled “The Hunt: Me and War Criminals”. The book, apart from widespread criticism over the prosecutor’s self-serving presentation of facts and the self-righteous apprehension of her incumbency, revitalized the political and historical debate on the 1998-1999 conflict between the Federal Yugoslav Army and the Kosovo Liberation Army. Leaving aside Del Ponte’s accusations of all implicated parties for their lack of cooperativeness and competence, which can be explained by the very nature of memoirs writi...

Integrated Border Management as a Contemporary Concept of Border Guard
Drs. N. Dujovski, G. Dzukleski, Z. Nikoloski - 5/3/2012

Integrated Border Management (IBM) is a contemporary concept of border guard which poses a number of challenges on the functioning of the Police and other security agencies. All countries in the region have accepted this new mode of securing the state border and they undertake measures to improve the cooperation between the authorities on the border line, as well as with the regional and European organizations and bodies.

The Republic of Macedonia has been implementing IBM since 2007, when the National Coordinative Centre for Border Management was established. In this s...

Negotiation and Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the Future of the Macedonian State
Drs.. S. Slaveski, O. Bakreski, Z. Nikoloski - 2/20/2012
The Ohrid Framework Agreement Negotiations

1. First phase of the negotiation in Skopje

When a situation has ripened, the international community usually assumes one of three levels of contribution: the facilitator, the mediator, or the supporter.

In the Macedonian case, the international community has played the roles of the facilitator and the mediator. Pardew and Leotard have chosen to play a little larger role as facilitator, which involves pushing the party to move towards the table, providing basic rules, setting an agenda and drafting papers for discussions. From tim...

Ohrid Framework Agreement: Accommodation of Minority Grievances via Ethnic or Civic Identity?
Drs.. S. Slaveski, O. Bakreski, Z. Nikoloski - 2/10/2012

In this paper we argue that power-sharing mechanisms introduced in Macedonia have gone a long way towards guaranteeing the better representation and participation in Macedonian society of the Albanian community through the institutionalisation of a model of inter-ethnic power-sharing. Nevertheless, since they are the product of violence, they are also creating a largely bi-national state with little integration between groups on societal level and even less so of smaller communities in the country, and a state where the question of ethnicity remains dominant on the political sc...

Regional Cooperation and Integration of Western Balkan Countries into the EU and NATO
Igor Gjoreski, MA and Bilijana Avramoska-Gjoreska - 1/11/2012
At the end of 20th century the Balkan question once again became popular for U.S. and European diplomacy. Judging by the literature on this topic, it is clear that there is no generally accepted opinion about where and what are the Balkans. Depending on the context and the author, it is obvious that geographical borders in the Balkans are not generally accepted by all actors, that the Balkans should not vary more borders, including: historical boundaries (which change in different periods of time), the boundaries between religions, civilizations, peoples, alphabet, mentalities, ideologies, etc...

Macedonian Banks are Safer than West Europe's Banks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/8/2011
Even under the best case scenario (in which banks take a 50% haircut on the credits they have extended to profligate Greece, but there is no default) French, Italian, German, and Austrian banks run a collective capital shortfall of c. 40 billion euros. Add to this the EU's new banking capital adequacy regulations and the figure doubles.

Macedonian Identity and Macedonian Authoritarianism
ig - 10/15/2011
Response to:

Dear Matthew,

I would like to respond to your article published in the New York Times and titled “Concerns Grow About Authoritarianism in Macedonia.”

I will start with what I find problematic in the article but I will also not omit any praise. In essence, the article seems to strive for journalistic balance but it never achieves this tenet. I wish the article was only about the freedom of the press and the need for reform in Macedonia because that i...

Career development of young Kosovars, pawn of visa liberalization: Kosovar students- "The young ghettopians"
Elmedina Nikoçeviq - 10/8/2011
The famous kosovar rock group "Troja" was created in the time of war. The first steps were initiated in a basement of the neighborhood Peyton in Pristina, when Serbian police often patrolled the streets and moved Albanian youths aside and beat them bad.

Macedonia: Press Freedom Index, Riding the Tiger
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2011
1. Macedonia’s own Media Freedom Index: The Basis for Informed Debate

The Republic of Macedonia is 20 years Old
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/6/2011
The Republic of Macedonia is 20 years old: an adult with the problems and promises that characterize early puberty. The country now has a young and dynamic leadership which has succeeded to transform Macedonia's image both domestically and abroad for better and for worse. According to repeated polls, for the first time in two decades, people are optimistic and investors sanguine.

Macedonia’s 2011 Independence Day Interview with Stevo Pendarovski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/5/2011
I have been fortunate to meet Stevo Pendarovski several times, in his official capacities, and “for coffee”. On all occasions, I found him to be level-headed, incisively analytical, and a true public intellectual. At the same time, his views are never trite, or conventional. He always introduces new, surprising angles into old and apparently worn-out debates. In this sense, he is a stealth iconoclast.

Alexander the Great: Murdered in Babylon, Resurrected in Skopje
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/13/2011
Was Alexander the Great murdered in Babylon? In a historical mystery which combines Dan Brown's narrative panache (but with far superior writing skills), Agatha Christie's sense of drama and mis-en-scene, and Paul Johnson's synoptic view, Graham Phillips makes a convincing case that, indeed he was. "Alexander the Great: Murder in Babylon" (Virgin Books, 2004) is as thorough as any scholarly study, footnotes and all and, yet, it is compulsively and breathtakingly readable.

The Curious Case of Macedonian Parliamentary Elections: Part II. Causes and Consequences
ig - 7/19/2011
On June 4th, 2011 Macedonian citizens living outside of the Republic of Macedonia voted for the first time in a Macedonian parliamentary election. At stake in the second in row early elections were three newly created seats in the “Sobranie,” the Macedonian House of Representatives, all of which were won by deputies from the governing party VMRO-DPMNE. The next day the party won the early parliamentary elections in the country with much diminished share of the national seats.

Can the Albanians in Macedonia be Bought off?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/15/2011
The once and future Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, has surrendered large swathes of his government to his Albanian coalition partners, DUI, the political incarnation of the rugged insurgents who roiled the country in an armed conflict in 2001. Even the sensitive Ministry of Defense is now in their hands. Moreover: Gruevski, the ostensible arch-nationalist gave way on a host of issues largely perceived by ethnic Macedonians of vital interest. Albanian will now be used as official second language everywhere, for instance and effective amnesty will be granted to Albanian terrorists...

The Curious Case of the Macedonian Parliamentary Elections Abroad
ig - 6/22/2011
PART 1: Who are the Macedonians Abroad?
Recently, Macedonian citizens living abroad had a chance to vote for the first time in their small nation’s general elections. According to many of their statements in the Macedonian media the chance for meaningful participation was illusive as were their hopes for a true representation.

What failed? To begin with, the preparation for the vote abroad by the Republic of Macedonia (RoM) was abysmal. For tiny Macedonia, an early parliamentary election was probably not the best choice to allow voting of Macedonians in all corners of the world. For...

Greece Should Restructure Debt and Abandon the Euro: German Engineering and Greece’s Debt Crisis
Prof. Peter Morici - 5/26/2011
Greece is in crisis again. Athens should restructure its debt and abandon the euro to reassert control over its finances and economy.

Macedonia's Hopeful Holocaust
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/10/2011
Macedonia boasts one of only four major Holocaust memorials in the world (the others are in Jerusalem, Washington, and Berlin). For a country of 2 million people with fewer than 130 Jews and no tourism to speak of this is a curious circumstance. That Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is a bestseller in Macedonia and old people still believe in anti-Semitic blood libels renders the whole affair a travesty.

Macedonia's Minister of Education Cleans Academe's Augean Stables
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/21/2011
Finally, a true reform: Macedonia's youthful and intrepid Minister of Education is attempting to overhaul the country's bloated academic institutions by introducing basic principles, long accepted everywhere else in the appointment and tenure of professors: publish or perish; merit over nepotism; and rating by both peers and students. Inevitably, this moderate effort raised heckles and vitriol among the would-be affected, out to defend their sacred sinecures.

Can Macedonia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Inflation Figures be Trusted?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/14/2011
GDP figures are not an exact science. All over the world, GDP numbers are politicized and subject to heavy manipulation. There are at least 3 known methodologies to calculate GDP and, for each of these methodologies, there are two alternative formulas which take into account completely different economic sets of data.

Updates: NATO to Pull Out of Macedonia, Castro Brothers' Feud
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2010

I wrote and published the article below (titled "NATO Shuns Macedonia") on December 19 in and the Chronicle Media Group.

Nine days later, on December 28, 2010, Brigadier-General David Humar, Chief of Mission of NATO in Skopje, announced that he is leaving his post next month (6-12 months earlier than envisioned). NATO's Camp Able in charge of logistical support for KFOR in Kosovo has been transferred to ARM (Macedonia's army units based in and around Skopje's Alexander the Great airport) and all its staff are slated to leave Macedonia; NATO HQ person...

Understanding the Macedonian Name Dispute and its importance to the United States
Ioannis Fidanakis - 11/7/2010
It’s been 19 years since a small former republic of Yugoslavia declared independence and attempted to hijack the history, identity and name of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia. Originally known as Vardar Banovina, the region was renamed by Josip Broz Tito in the aftermath of the Second World War. The name chosen by Tito was the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, an ideal chose as it allowed him to promote the concept of an oppressed ‘Macedonian ethnicity’, in which he could develop the idea of reunification of the greater geographic region in hopes of gaining access to the Aegean Sea, thro...

Nikola Gruevski, my friend: Time to Start the Revolution!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/20/2010
Nikola Gruevski, Macedonia’s Prime Minister, is the most popular politician his country has ever had. Yet, instead of leveraging this overwhelming mandate to transform Macedonia and reform it from the roots up, he opted for “change by a thousand cuts”, a gradualist, incremental approach to the fundamental rot at the basis of this polity he oversees.

Greek-Macedonian Name Issue Myths Debunked
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/2/2010
In the absence of the glare of the global media, its coverage and exposure, the fourth-rate diplomats that stand in for the International Community in Macedonia ineffectually cajole its government with thinly veiled threats, Cassandra-like apocalyptic scenarios, and verbal bribery. To achieve their aims, they propagate three myths (not to say deceptions):

The Macedonian dilemma: to change the name or not to change
Ireneusz A. Slupkov - 8/7/2010
The Macedonian state like any in the world has its dilemmas. Should this democratic state change its name and, thanks to a "European dictate" enter the European Union, or not accept this dictate and remain outside the Union?

Greece to Pull Out of the Eurozone?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/28/2010
Greece authorities are dusting off an old contingency plan to pull out of the eurozone and reinstate the drachma. This will allow the cash-strapped country to print money to meet its budgetary demands without the shackles and constraints imposed by membership in the club of 16 rich European economies that have adopted the euro as their currency in 2002. Greece cannot levy additional taxes on its crumbling economy and it can no longer borrow abroad, the yield on its bonds having soared to historical and unsustainable highs. Its only remaining option is to monetize its financing requirements by printing money and to erode its public debt by reinflating its economy.

Misuse of the Concept of "Erga Omnes" in the Greek-Macedonian Name Dispute
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2010
The "name issue" involves a protracted dispute over the last 18 years between two Balkan polities over Macedonia's right to use its constitutional name, "The Republic of Macedonia". The Greeks claim that Macedonia is a region in Greece and that, therefore, the country Macedonia has no right to monopolize the name and its derivatives ("Macedonian").

Second Ohrid Framwork Agreement: Resolution of the Greek-Macedonian Name Dispute
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2010
Proposed on April 11, 2010 in preparation for a simulation-game initiated by the author and conducted under the auspices of A1 TV in Ohrid, April 23-25, 2010.

The past is the future of Europe
Tale Buling - 3/3/2010
The grand idea of United Europe, conceived in the mid 20th century by Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul Henri Spaak and Alcide de Gasperi was to be an answer to nationalism infested Europe, which plagued the continent in two world wars and several regional wars that destroyed most of Europe, physically and emotionally.

Macedonia's great accomplishment is to have survived
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2009
Interview granted by Sam Vaknin to the Portuguese newsmagazine Politika, November 8, 2009

Greek Carrots in the Macedonian Salad?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2009
Greece is putting together a package of economic incentives to be included in any compromise regarding the name issue with the Republic of Macedonia (for an overview of this convoluted conflict, see note below). The measures are intended to restore Greece's tattered relationship with the United States by casting Macedonia as the intransigent, radical, and irrational party when the Macedonian leadership rejects the offer (as the Greeks fully expect them to do).

Steering Macedonia towards Health
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2009
As healthcare systems go, Macedonia's is far from being the worst. By various criteria, Macedonia has attained more than all its neighbors and has even done better than the vastly richer countries of the EU or Israel. These accomplishments are rendered even more incredible if one considers the fact that, with an average monthly income of c. 250 euros, Macedonians are among the poorest nations in Europe. Macedonia's Health Insurance Fund has to cope with the same size of population (2 million) as does its Slovenian counterpart, but with 10 times fewer resources (300 million euros in contributions and other income vs. more than 3 billion euros).

What is the Real Size of Macedonia's Foreign Exchange Reserves?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2009
Here are the facts as they emerge from the periodical (mostly annual) reports of Macedonia's central bank, Narodna Banka na Republika Makedonija - NBRM, for short.

Macedonians in Denial about the Name Issue Dispute with Greece
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2009
Faced with an unprecedented choice between their identity and their future, Macedonians resort to a classic psychological defense mechanism: denial. Greece demands that the Republic of Macedonia change its name, or else forget about its Euro-Atlantic aspirations: NATO membership and EU accession. Macedonians react with horror and revulsion to such truly unprecedented bullying. Unable to face reality, they collectively retreat to fantasy.

The Republic of North Macedonia and Palestine: Obama Loses Patience with Bush Allies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/3/2009
I. "The Republic of North Macedonia" and Greece

On August 26, 2008, I published an article titled Greek-American Plan to Resolve Macedonia's Name Issue?. In it, I described an American plan to resolve the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece (see note at the bottom of the first section of this article).

The Plan included five elements: (1) Macedonia will change its constitutional name to Northern Macedonia ("The Republic of North Macedonia"); (2) Macedonia will be granted a transition period to amend its constitution and to alter its registered name with various internation...

Macedonia and the Global Crisis: Weighing the Options
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/16/2009
Forum organized by the Association of Chambers of Commerce , May 28, 2009

Gruevski's Macedonia, Greece, and Alexander the Great, History's Forgotten Madman
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/6/2009
The government of Macedonia has recently changed the name of its puny airport to "Alexander the Great". This was only the latest symptom of a growing cult of personality. Modern-day Macedonians, desperately looking for their ancient roots in a region hostile to their nationhood, have latched onto their putative predecessor with a zeal that defies both historical research and the howls of protest from their neighbor, Greece.

Human Trafficking in Macedonia and Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/22/2008
(Original tables here: )

Human trafficking is a sterile term, used to mask the grimmest of realities. Popular culture - from Peter Robinson's police procedural "Strange Affair" to the film "Taken" - captures the more sensationalist dimensions of this vile and pernicious phenomenon: the coercion or abduction or of young girls (some of them minors) and their forced conversion into prostitutes. But there is a lot more to it than that.

Enter Vladimir Danailov, who is currently running a law office in Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonian Wages Among the Highest in the World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/1/2008
"Invest in Macedonia", implored the government's campaign, because wages here are among the lowest in Europe. Are they?

Greek-American Plan to Resolve Macedonia's Name Issue?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/29/2008
According to reliable sources, on September 23, in the presence of the foreign ministers of both countries, Condolenzza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States of America, will present a plan to resolve a festering dispute between Greece, its (anti-American) nominal NATO ally, and Macedonia, a member of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq and Afghanistan and a NATO aspirant. On September 24, the Plan will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council.

UN Report: Balkans Safer Than Thought
Risto Karajkov, Ph.D. candidate - 7/16/2008
The Balkans is safer than thought. This is the basic message from a recently published reportby the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The report made global headlines as some of its arguments run counter to common wisdom – that the Balkans is a gloomy and risky place.

Rid of Violence, a Reforming Bosnia Emerges as a Model
Humphrey Hawksley - 6/27/2008
SREBRENICA: Almost 13 years after the United States forced peace upon the war-torn Balkan country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this once-failed state has taken its first official step towards becoming a modern European nation.

What's Wrong With Macedonia's Inflation and Trade Deficit Figures?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2008
Something is not right with Macedonia's statistics.

Interview with Ljubomir Danilov Frckoski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2008
Ljubomir Danilov Frcksoki ("Frcko" to his friends) is by far Macedonia's most prominent public intellectual. The author of this struggling nation's first constitution in 1991, he also contributed to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which, in the wake of an armed insurgency, has defined, ten years later, the relationship between the country's majority and its restive Albanian minority. He served as Macedonia's Minister of Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs until 1997.

Balkan Lessons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2008
Interview granted by Sam Vaknin to Barry Scott Zellen, Deputy Editor, "Strategic Insights", and Research Editor of the Arctic Security Project at the Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Not his turn to die
Michael Averko - 4/25/2008
Savo Heleta's recently released book (published this year in New York by the American Management Association) is a gripping personal account of his childhood and teenage experiences growing up in prewar and war torn Bosnia. The former Gorazde resident's perspective includes his living with Muslims as a secular Serb. Some personal war stories have proven later to be false. Heleta presents a believable overview that appears free of questionable claims. There are numerous individuals who have known his family and himself for a lengthy period. They can choose to refute Heleta's claims. A lack of challenge can be seen as a confirmation of his views.

No American Security Guarantees for Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/9/2008
On the strength of a Greek veto, Macedonia did not receive an invitation to join NATO, while Albania and Croatia, the two other members of the Adriatic Charter Group did.

Why is the Macedonian Stock Exchange Unsuccessful?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2008
The Macedonian Stock Exchange (MSE) is not operating successfully. True, some of the parameters which we use to measure the success of a stock exchange have lately improved in the MSE. For instance, the monthly money volume has increased together with the number of transactions. But this is a far cry from success.

Kosovars and other Albanians - Why Great Albania is a Myth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2008
To the politicians of the Balkans - almost without exception corrupt and despised by their own constituencies - the myth of Great Albania comes handy. It keeps the phobic Macedonians, the disdainful Serbs and the poor and crime ridden Albanians united and submissive: each group for different, idiosyncratic reasons.

A Win-Win Solution To The Kosovo Problem
Filip Ljubicic - 2/12/2008
On February 3rd Serbia elected Boris Tadic as President, showing that she wants to have closer ties with the EU. However with Kosovo about to proclaim independence, this position may no longer be viable. Therefore a solution for Kosovo is needed urgently if the people of Serbia are to fulfil their expressed preference and not fall back into isolation.

One Hundred Paintings of Solitude - Sergej's Macedonian Magic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/21/2008
Sergej Andreevski is one of Macedonia's foremost painters. I visited his studio in the outskirts of Skopje to avail myself of a rare opportunity: an open invitation by a practicing artist to enter his mind.

Macedonia's Report Card - 10 Things that Could Go Wrong
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/8/2008
Like Blanche Dubois in "Streetcar Named Desire", Macedonians now prefer fantasy over harsh reality. They lash out at anyone who wishes to offset their euphoria with a long, hard look at hazards, real achievements, and true future prospects.

Leasing Real Estate in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2007
The subprime mortgage crisis in the United States is spreading globally, effecting prices even for an Iskandar Property in Singapore. Real estate values are deemed inflated in many countries around world. One exception may be Macedonia. Purchase prices here have stagnated in the last few years and rental rates have actually declined considerably. There is good reason to think this will change and soon: new financing vehicles are on offer and, as real incomes increase, there is a stark mismatch between geometrically-growing demand and arithmetically-increasing supply.

Overview of the Macedonian Stock Exchange - December 2007
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/8/2007
The Macedonian Stock Exchange, as measured by its MBI-10 index, rose to a record high of close to 10,500 in mid-2007. It has since shed 40% of its gains. This correction, or, rather, rout has its roots is a series of converging factors.

Nikola Gruevski's Way Out
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2007
Title of Book: The Way Out: Foreign Direct Investment, Economic Development, and Employment
Author: Nikola Gruevski
Publisher: Evropa 92 Kochani
Month, Year of publication: October 2007

# of pages: 210

Macedonia's Titanic Waltz Or: Why Macedonians Spit in the Streets and Trash Their Environment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/12/2007
It is a well-noted phenomenon: Macedonians behave one way at home and in another, more civilized manner, when they are traveling abroad. Most egregiously, they spit in public and trash their environment. Why the stark differences in conduct?

A Macedonian Fairy Tale
Boban Karapejovski - 11/7/2007
Once upon a time there was a small country called "the Oasis of Peace". This country was Macedonia. This fairy tale dates from the mid-`90 of the previous centrury, when Macedonia became the only country to secede from the Yugoslav breakdown without war and human casualties. This small polity (in terms of square kilometers) is again at the focus of international interest due to the process of solving the Albanian issue on the Balkans.

Balkan Rational Exuberance - Interview with Alexandar Dimishkovski of BID Consulting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/5/2007
The Balkans as a region is experiencing a confluence of events of both fundamental and technical nature that augur well, as far as its economies go. Accession to the huge and unified market of the European Union (and to NATO) is closer and more realistic than ever. Two decades of transition from socialism and communism, privatization, institution-building, and private sector reform are finally bearing fruits. Emerging markets - and Europe - are more attractive than ever as investment destinations, now that the United States is caught in a vicious cyclical downturn which might result in a reces...

The Education of Macedonia - Interview with Ljubica Grozdanovska of BID Consulting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/2/2007
Until recently and for five years, Ljubica Grozdanovska worked as a journalist in Macedonia's best-selling daily newspaper, "Dnevnik", covering issues on every level of education in the country. Three months ago, she became correspondent for the prestigious Czech e-zine Transition Online (TOL), again covering topics in education. Ljubica also works at the Faculty of Journalism in Skopje as a junior assistant. Recently, she co-founded "BID Consulting", where she serves as a market analyst, business and PR consultant.

Lights Out in the Balkans - Interview with Aleksandar Dimishkovski of BID Consulting, Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/27/2007
Until recently and for four years, Aleksandar Dimishkovski worked as a business and finance correspondent in Macedonia's best-selling daily newspaper, "Dnevnik". In the past year, he also served as a personal advisor to the general manager of a foreign-owned company that has established its network in Macedonia. He is known as a market analyst and a business consultant and has recently founded "BID Consulting".

Happy Birthday, Macedonia!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2007
The Republic of Macedonia is 16 years old: an adolescent with the problems and promises that characterize puberty. The country now has a young and dynamic leadership which has succeeded, in one short year, to transform Macedonia's image both domestically and abroad. According to repeated polls, for the first time in two decades, people are optimistic and investors sanguine.

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part 7
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/23/2007
Macedonia has executed a workforce survey for the first time in 1996. In this survey the following definitions were used:

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part 6
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/22/2007
Another common misperception is that there is some trade off between unemployment and inflation. Both Friedman and Phelps attacked this notion. Unemployment seems to have a “natural” (equilibrium or homeostatic) rate, which is determined by the structure of the labour market. The natural rate of unemployment is consistent with stable inflation (NAIRU – Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment).

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2007
We are all under the spell of magic words such as “mobility”, “globalization” and “flextime”. It seems as though we move around more frequently, that we change jobs more often and that our jobs are less secure. The facts, though, are different.

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2007
The macroeconomic policies of Macedonia are severely constrained by its international obligations to the IMF and the World Bank. Generally, a country can ease interest rates, or provide a fiscal boost to the economy by slashing taxes or by deficit spending.

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/18/2007
The principle governing any incentive scheme intended to encourage employers to hire hitherto unemployed workers must be that the employer will get increasing participation in the wage costs of the newly hired formerly unemployed workers – more with every year the person remains employed. Thus, a graduated incentive scale has to be part of any law and incentive plan. Example: employers will get increasing participation in wage costs – more with every 6 months the person has been unemployed by them.

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/17/2007
I. Recommendations

Get the Real Picture

No one in Macedonia knows the real picture. How many are employed and not reported or registered? How many are registered as unemployed but really have a job? How many are part time workers – as opposed to full time workers? How many are officially employed (de jure) – but de facto unemployed or severely underemployed? How many are on “indefinite” vacations, on leave without pay, etc.?

The Treasure Trove of Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2007
Nothing like a juicy, photogenic human catastrophe to enrich corrupt politicians and bottom-line-orientated, stock-option-motivated corporate executives. The Balkan is teeming with both these sad days. Even as the war was raging, shortages of food and other supplies led to the dispensation of political favours (in the form of import licences, for instance) to the chosen few. Bulgarian, Greek and Albanian firms, owned by ruthless criminals and criminals-turned-politicians benefited mightily. Millions were made and shared as artificially high prices were maintained by various means while cronies...

Why did Milosevic Surrender?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2007
Why did Milosevic surrender? I originally asked that question on June 21, 1999. So why did he? Not because of NATO. Ground damage assessment based on the number of withdrawing troops and their hardware and on a detailed inventory of charred remains in most of Kosovo - prove that this air campaign was no different to its predecessors. Only 10% of Serb artillery, tanks, APCs and so on were effected. The Yugoslav (read: Serb) army - ostensibly the side which lost the war - is vibrant and defiant. It does not look like it has been subjected to the equivalent of 12 Hiroshima size nuclear bombs in 11 weeks. It looks like it knows something that the rest of us don't.

The Price of Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/30/2007
Macedonia was most heavily damaged during Operation Allied Force. But one would do well to separate the irreversible damages from the reversible ones. The former have a corrosive, pernicious effect - the latter, though harmful and painful, can be remedied through added aid and investment and the adoption of the right frame of mind. The trade sector in Macedonia suffered c. 50 million US dollars in damages in the past three months.

Macedonia is not Bosnia: Interview with Edward Joseph
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/20/2007
This interview was conducted in 2000 with Edward Joseph, then head of the Macedonia office of the International Crisis Group (ICG). It proved prescient and is as actual today as it had been then. Ed Joseph's biography is a fair proxy to the history of the Balkan since 1992, the year he landed in Sarajevo, then the beseiged capital of crumbling Bonia-Herzegovina. He was in all the flashpoints ever since: Knin, Mostar, Bihac, Tuzla, Zepa (where he oversaw the evacuation together with the infamous General Ratko Mladic). He held senior positions in the UN, NATO, and OSCE. In 1999, during the Koso...

Macedonia in Crisis: Interview with Sam Vaknin
GP Interviews - 4/19/2007
Q1: Was there any threat of economic sanctions against Republic of Macedonia by the international mediators and/or representatives of EU/US during the crisis of 2001?Were there threat or sanctions by the international community before 2001 due to ethnic tensions within the country?

A1: The answers to both parts of your question are in the negative. But one should distinguish overt threats - both official and informal - from "ambient" ones. While no one threatened the Macedonian government explicitly - many hints were dropped that a failure to resolve the ethnic crisis would lead to severe ec...

The Sudeten in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2007
Bernard Kouchner, the former administrator of Kosovo, has warned against producing a a second Cyprus in Macedonia. He probably meant a territory divided along ethnic lines by a foreign army. But here the comparison ends. The ethnically cleansing invading Turkish army was not invited by both parties to the conflict in Cyprus to make peace. The Turks were reacting to a military coup by members of the majority Greek-Cypriot community in cahoots with a vicious junta in Athens and to a series of deadly inter-communal clashes. If MFOR ever makes it, it will be by the will and invitation of both Macedonians and Albanians.

Ten Questions About Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/20/2007
Ten Questions You Wanted Answered About Macedonia - But Never Dared to Ask:

Free Economic Zones in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/13/2007
Question: What is a free zone?

Answer: There is an important distinction which the media is not aware of between FREE ZONES and FREE ZONE SITES.

To quote from the law:

"A free zone site represents a detached, enclosed and marked area of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia on which commercial activities are conducted under conditions prescribed by this and other laws and on which custom and other tax incentives determined by this law shall be applicable."

Marketing Macedonia: The Public Relations and Promotion of Countries in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/12/2007
Speech delivered at the AIESEC congress in Skopje, 1997

Many Macedonians ask me: why do foreign investors refrain from investing in Macedonia?

Bosnia - An Economy in Search of a State
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/6/2007
Bosnia-Herzegovina (heretofore "Bosnia") is an artificial polity with four, tangentially interacting, economies. Serbs, Croats and their nominal allies, the Bosniaks each maintain their own economy. The bloated, fractured, turf conscious, inefficient, and often corrupt presence of the international community, in the form of the Office of the High Representative, among others, constitutes the fourth - and most dominant - parallel economy.

Don't Hurry to Invest in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/5/2007
In the near past, Macedonia seemed to have been bent on breaking its own record of surrealism. While politicians in other countries in transition from communism and socialism strive to be noticed for not stealing, their Macedonian counterparts, without a single exception, aim to steal without being noticed.

Macedonia: Equity, Europe, Investments
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/25/2007
Economic theory describes the individual player in the marketplace as rational and cold blooded, always calculating risks versus profits. But reality is much more complex. Economy is 90% psychology: fashions, emotions, fears, hopes and expectations, past history and future visions. A phenomenon like enterpreneurship cannot be fully explained by classic economic theories.

Macedonia's Great Opportunity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/24/2007
Five thousand years ago, people were still roaming the earth as nomads. They carried along their few precious possessions in their hands and on their backs. They hunted and gathered food at random.

Why is the Macedonian Stock Exchange Unsuccessful?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/23/2007
The Macedonian Stock Exchange (MSE) is not operating successfully. True, some of the parameters which we use to measure the success of a stock exchange have lately improved in the MSE. For instance, the monthly money volume has increased together with the number of transactions. But this is a far cry from success.

Battling Macedonia's Cancer: Unemployment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/6/2006
The official figures are staggering: 35% of the workforce - about 280,000 people - are unemployed and looking for a job. Each 1.43 employee support 1 unemployed person. In the USA the figure is 3.3 to 4 employees supporting all the unemployed AND all the pensioners!

Homo Balkanus
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/22/2006
Written: August 18, 1999

Could have been written today

How does one respond to a torrent of belligerent correspondence from Balkanians arguing against the belligerence of Balkanians asserted by one in one's articles? Were it not sad, it surely would have been farcical. Only yesterday (August 17th, 1999 - five months after the Kosovo conflict) Macedonian papers argued fiercely, vehemently and threateningly against an apparently innocuous remark by Albania's Prime Minister. He said that all Albanians, wherever they are, should share the same curriculum of studies. A preparatory step on the w...

First and Last Days in Kosovo - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, March

First and Last Days in Kosovo - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, March

The West in the Balkans - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/29/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004
There isn't a single country in the Balkan - Serbia included - whose political elite, past and present, is not thoroughly criminalized. Crime, business, and politics are inextricable in this part of the world. Kosovo is no different. But people's past lives are less important than their future actions. The early histories of many nations - perhaps all nations - are studded with rogues, terrorists, criminals, slave traders, eccentrics, and worse. Robber barons, gunslingers, outcasts, slavers, and criminals established both the United States and Australia, for instance.

The West in the Balkans - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/28/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004.
The breakup of Macedonia is not inevitable - but Kosovo's independence is. What makes it unavoidable is history. Kosovo is an ethnically homogeneous, clearly demarcated, territory whose denizens fervently aspire to be independent - and are willing to fight for it. Moreover, they have the support of large parts of the international community. Serbia is dilapidated, subjugated, weak, and divided.

The West in the Balkans - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004.
Kosovo cannot be compared to Croatia or Bosnia. Kosovo was (and, technically, is) an integral part of Serbia, an autonomous province, not a republic-constituent of the former Federal Yugoslavia. During the initial phases of KLA activity (1993-6), Kosovars did not overtly wish to secede from (the truncated) Yugoslavia. As I said in my interview to "Balkanalysis" earlier this year: "(Milosevic) had (no) 'plan' as far as Kosovo is concerned. He simply wanted to eradicate what he regarded as criminals in cahoots with terrorists ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-17: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/3/2006
SV: There is no point in separating the issues of education and management. The students of today are the managers of tomorrow. This old generation of mostly corrupt political commissars masquerading as managers and robbing the assets of the firms they are entrusted with – is bound to pass. Biology will do it if political processes will not. But is Macedonia looking into a brighter future? I am afraid that not necessarily.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-16: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/2/2006
SV: It is a big debate whether the state should intervene in the operation of free markets. Granted, the state is not the most efficient economic player. It is slow, corrupt, ignorant, influenced by non-commercial considerations, short-sighted and either too aggressive or too placid. On the other hand, markets are not a panacea, either. There are some goods and services, which markets simply refuse to provide because they are inherently unprofitable or require some non-monetary motivation. Most of the public goods cannot be efficiently provided by free markets or can be provided only at a proh...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-15: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2006
SV: You touched upon the three alternatives available to small countries that wish to increase their exports and to extract themselves from a chronic state of poverty (=of deficits). The first alternative, is to attach itself to one big economic power. This is the case of the Czech Republic and used to be the case of Israel, Cuba and dozens of other countries. The lessons show clearly that this is a good strategy as an interim measure. A small country can attach itself, economically, to a bigger one, ONLY if it uses the time that it thus buys to get rid of this dependence. While closely and ov...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-14: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/26/2006
SV: As I said earlier, imports, in themselves are good to the economy because they optimize the use of economic resources through increased efficiency of the allocation of economic resources. The question is only: WHAT is imported. There are imported goods which generate sufficient income in the future to cover their cost plus a reasonable return on equity. Others (such as cars) only get depreciated with time and consume more and more foreign exchange (fuel, spare parts). I think that a few rules are cast in stone. They should be applied cumulatively, not separately:

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-13: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/25/2006
SV: One technical comment, though. TQM is a more comprehensive management philosophy, which revolves around the assurance of quality in all phases of the economic activity of the firm. But TQM is one of many such philosophies (and lately very much out of favour). These fads are by no means comparable to ISO, which is a set of procedures and processes which are rigorous, clearly defined, objective, management-independent to a large degree and widely and unanimously accepted. ISO is a standard, almost mathematical in its purity. TQM is a management fashion. Comparable to TQM is the system of tho...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-12: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2006
NG: The first problem of the three that I mentioned can be solved by the employment of managerial techniques involving better organization and the combining of resources and by the state creating a better economic environment (monetary measures, bonuses, etc.).

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-11: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2006
NG: A few months ago we have discussed attracting foreign investments to RM. One of the most important measures, for attaining a suitable balanced state in RM, should be directed at attracting foreign commercial investments in RM.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-10: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2006
SV: Wine and apples are two fine examples of the "Macedonian Malaise" (typical to most so called "countries in transition"). The condition is characterized by an overwhelming sense of inferiority. Having been oppressed and subjugated for so long, small nations convince themselves that they deserve it, that something is wrong with THEM, that they are no good, bums, stupid, or simply unlucky. But always lacking and deserving of punishment. With such a national mood, there is no room for initiative, self confidence, self worth, trust, belief in the future, planning, legal behaviour, postponement ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-9: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2006
NG: Besides the above-mentioned sources of financing, the development of the capital markets, as a source of financing in RM, will depend on the establishment and development of investment funds. The privatization model wasn't best suited for the development of this kind of institutions, which will probably reflect upon the long term. They basically should secure the mobilization of small financial resources to different investments and of much bigger amounts to be directed to the economy by investing in securities, foreign currencies and money.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-8: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2006
SV: If the government decides to finance exports of consumer goods directly, it can, indeed, do so through export subsidies or through credits provided by a specialist bank or through the general banking system, as you suggest. I think it is wrong. But I agree with you that the best source would be the proceeds of the privatization of the assets of the state. These are one off income items. Normally, the proceeds of the sales should be kept off the regular budget (extra-curricular). Most governments sell their capital (=the companies that they own) and use the money for current budgetary expen...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-7: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/19/2006
NG: I wish it too, what you are saying, and I would be very happy when RM becomes a country which is not in need of state simulative intervention in order to change the economic structure.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-6: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2006
SV: Macedonia belongs to a much derided economic club, whose members are fervently trying to abandon it: the club of the group of countries who export mainly raw materials and semi finished goods and import finished products. This is the classical definition of a colony in the old mercantilist theory. Colonies are doomed to run deficits, equal to the value that is added by the industrialized countries to the raw materials that they import from the colonies. Additionally, the colonies get "hooked": they get addicted to the advantages that poor labour, for instance, provides. They tend to suppre...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-5: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2006
NG: Within the scope of the roles of increasing investments and changing the economic structure there is the implementation of an efficient court system, which will create an environment in which the commercial banks of RM, by a speedier settlement of their own claims, will make long-term and cheaper credits available. This, indirectly, will influence the process of structural economic change and start to create an export-oriented efficient economy. At this moment, financial resources available in RM, from the banks' point of view, are really "a cat in a bag". The bank can never be certain tha...

Slobodan Milosevic is Dead
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/14/2006
On February 12, 2001 I published this article in a few online media. It speaks for itself.

Wouldn't everyone be better off if Slobodan Milosevic were to die? Mysteriously, of course, in a serendipitous car accident, as is the habit in these parts. Or, mercifully and less obtrusively, in a sudden onslaught of lethal pneumonia, in line with his advanced age. Imagine the sighs of palpable relief in his own camp, to which he has become a political albatross and a nagging embarrassment. Never before could so many quandaries be resolved through an orchestrated stroke of luck. It is quite a temptation and, in Eastern Europe, it is irresistible.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-3: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2006
SV: Macedonians (politicians as well as "the people") adopted a magical mode of thinking. They believe that Macedonia is geo-strategically so important, that it will never be abandoned by the West. True, unilateral grants, aid and other non-returnable transfers have dwindled lately (to the point of disappearing altogether). But Macedonia is getting increasing amounts of credits, loans, military aid, structural aid (EU through PHARE) and other forms of lending. Some of this money is directly injected to the arthritic veins of the banking system in the vein hope that it will trickle down into th...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-4: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2006
SV: It is a paradox of sorts that only governments can secure the conditions necessary for the operation of free markets. A good government prepares the way for its own act of disappearance from the marketplace. It should construct the edifice and let other tenants occupy it. There are a few things that only a government can do. Maintaining law and order, defending the country, providing certain unprofitable public goods (education, health). But I agree with you that a government's most important role in the economic arena is to provide working conditions, a structure. Such a structure should ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-2: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/10/2006
NG: Indeed, from these data it is easy to conclude that the deficit level is not the only important parameter – there are others that count in trying to determine the consequences. It is obvious that the deficit in RM has seriously restricted its economic development (as distinct from some other countries), which complicates the problem.

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-1: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/8/2006
NG: The characteristics of the Republic of Macedonia, in its post independence period, from a macro point of view of the activities of exports and imports, are:

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part XII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/3/2006
The government of Macedonia should revive the issuing of bonds in Macedonia, and above all, Government and Municipal bonds. The government will appear as the guarantor, and at the beginning, the government can serve as the guarantor of corporate bonds issues of the best Macedonian companies (with a prior mortgaged property of the company and the state as a collateral). When it comes to capital projects, in the absence of a big and modern bank (or a consortium of banks) which would serve as a guarantor to the corporate bonds the government should jump start the "game". This would be a positive ...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part XI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/2/2006
Nikola: The macroeconomic policy in Macedonia is relatively well received by foreign investors. According to the recent report of Merrill Lynch the stability in Macedonia will be preserved only if the real economy is rebuilt. So far this is not happening, judging by the slow growth and stagnating export incomes.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part X
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/1/2006
Nikola: Besides the promotion of Macedonia and legal provisions, the third very important component of attracting foreign capital is the opening of foreign Western mega-national bank branches. At least four reasons can be given. They are:

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part IX
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/28/2006
Nikola: The possibility for certain privileges on the basis of the invested foreign capital is provided in the Law of Customs Officials (The Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia no. 20/93, 1/95, 24/95, 31/95,63/95,40/96 and 15/97) and in the Income Tax Law (Gazette of RM no. 80/93……71/96) which are not sufficiently compared to the same laws in some other countries in transition.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VIII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/26/2006
Nikola: A second big problem for the entry of foreign capital, is that in the current Foreign Exchange Working Law (Official newspaper of RM No 30/93) a specific possibility for the entry of foreign currency into Macedonia for the purposes of buying securities is not foreseen.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/23/2006
The legal environment is the starting point of serious intentions for attracting large amounts of foreign investments. There is a need for customized laws and/or for the introduction of changes to existing laws, which will give the capital market in Macedonia at least approximately equal conditions with the same in other countries in transition, not to mention more favorable ones.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/22/2006
The person that this project would be entrusted to, must have enormous knowledge in the field of international finances and must exceptionally well know the problems and needs of Macedonia.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/20/2006
Sam: The world has gone through a major cycle of physical colonization in the last five centuries. European countries conquered, by military means, large swathes of land with rich raw materials and mineral resources. They clashed with each other often and the outcomes of these clashes were eternalized in the form of international borders. Whole continents were subjected to this mercantilist behaviour. Raw materials and cheap labour were "sold" at ridiculous prices by the colony to the colonizer – and expensive finished goods and services were imported by it. This led to economic depletion and ...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/19/2006
Nikola: And while one is having a problem with insufficient capital, others have a problem investing the surplus of capital, a problem of high liquidity.

For example, the Nomura company, as one of the most powerful investment banks in the world, with shareholders' capital of over 15 billion dollars, with 63 international offices in 26 countries, approximately 3 million client accounts and over 400 billion dollars in managed client funds, last year, "as a joke", bought 4000 pubs in England. It holds the first place in Central Europe (excepting Russia) as a leading provider of financing. Since...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/18/2006
Sam: It may come as a surprise to many, but foreign investors are as interested in psychology as they are in economics. The first things they enquire about have nothing to do with GDP per capita, the rate of inflation and its forecasts, domestic interest rates, the living standards, the available infrastructure, the banking system and other, "hard core" questions. To start with, they are interested to know other things: are property rights protected by the State and by the courts? Is the right legislation in place? What is the crime rate and how pervasive is it? Are people industrious or lazy,...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/14/2006
Nikola: Other things happened in Eastern Europe, but not in Macedonia in 1997, both in business and in finances.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/13/2006
Nikola: The Republic of Macedonia is at the bottom of the ladder, as far as foreign investments are considered, among the countries in transition. It is not a coincidence. The general judgement of all the relevant economic institutions and experts in and out of Macedonia is that there is a need for foreign commercial investments at this time. This dialogue is the commencement of an attempt to analyse the reasons for the absence of foreign investments and to act to change the present situation.

The Crucial Year - The Balkans in 2003
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/4/2006
Macedonia is a useful microcosm of the post-communist countries of the Balkan (self-importantly renamed by its denizens "Southeast Europe"). Prodded by its pro-Western president, Boris Trajkovski, it vocally - though implausibly - aspires to NATO and European Union membership. Its socialist prime minister - newly-elected in a remarkably smooth transfer of power - has just inked a landmark "social contract" with the trade unions.

Journalism Now: Two Versions of Balkan Wars
Rod Amis - 1/17/2006
In the January, 2006, edition of Z Magazine, my housemate, a self-avowed leftist, brought to my attention there is a book review my Edward S. Herman of Peter Brock's Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting - Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia. Ron suggested I read this because it confirms all the reporting that was featured here in G21 during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Among our correspondents, Ratislav Durman, Dragana Vicanovic, Adam Smith and myself, we presented a very different picture of those wars than the Mouthpiece Media (MM) and I am proud to say, as with our reporting of the Cambodian ...

The Kosovo Trap
Todor Kondakov, Ph.D. - 1/10/2006
The visit at the end of November 2005 of the ex-President of Finland, Marti Ahtissari, to Kosovo marked the beginning of the concluding stage of efforts, made by the international community, for the solution of the exceedingly difficult issue of the future of the ex-Serbian province. In his capacity of special representative of the UN Secretary General, the Finn tried to reconcile the irreconcilable - in other words, the claims of Kosovo Albanians for independence and the determination of Belgrade to grant them independence under no circumstances. At the end of 2005 Ahtissari visited Pristina...

Eyewitness Impressions Of The Kosovo War in 1999
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/3/2006
It often rains in Skopje nowadays. Sudden, thunderous outpourings of acidulous and gluey fluid. People say it is the pollution from 12,000 tonnes of bombs dropped 20 km from here. The unions warn of a hot autumn. The omens are ominous. It looks like an economic crash rather than a soft landing. Tony Blair was here a while ago. He photo opportunities with photogenic refugees and promised the soft spoken and dreamy eyed Prime Minister of Macedonia 20 million British Pounds. The money never came. Blair's promise went the way of thousands of other promises made by the good and the mighty throughou...

Macedonia: Black Magic, White Magic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/1/2006
Germany's economy collapsed following a reparations agreement which sapped and consumed less than 10% of its GDP. America's economy collapsed, its unemployment soared, its stock exchange vanished and it entered a deflationary cycle which necessitated the most pervasive federal intervention in its history - mainly because of multilateral trade restrictions.

The Balkans Between Omerta and Vendetta
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/1/2006
In a State Department briefing on Thursday, August 5th, 1999, the spokesman of this venerable and ever-so-truthful organ of the American administration, James Rubin, said: "We have supported and continue to support the regime in Montenegro that is a democratic regime that has pursued a democratic course. We do believe that Milosevic's efforts to consolidate power have led to repeated violations of the Yugoslav federal constitution, in particular the rights and privileges of Montenegro.

Lucky Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/27/2005
In October 1998, the unreformed communists of the SDSM - the Socialists - lost the elections in Macedonia by a wide margin to an improbable coalition. It consisted of the VMRO - fervent nationalists with Bulgarian roots, headed by the poet-politician Ljubco Georgievski - and the Democratic alternative (DA). The latter was a hastily assembled party headed by Vasil Tupurkovski, a pro-US former member of the old Yugoslav nomenclature. DA enjoyed grassroots support especially by young professionals, businessmen and liberals. It imported Western campaigning techniques and made bold promises to revitalize and energize the economy.

The Black Birds of Kosova
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/27/2005
The real war over Kosovo hasn't even started yet. When NATO finishes coercing Yugoslavia into submission, when the smoke clears and the charred remains of corpses and houses cleared - then the real conflict will erupt. It will be a conflict between moderate Albanians (as represented by Ibrahim Rugova) and radical Albanians (the outlandish Maoist-Islamist admixture represented by the KLA). And it will be bloodier by far.

The Plight of the Kosovar
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/26/2005
Rumour has it that from now on, citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will need a hard-to-obtain visa to enter the Czech Republic. This already is the case with Bosnians, for instance. Officials in Macedonia believe that this is intended to stem a flow of future Kosovar immigrants. If so, the Czech government holds a grim view of the prospects of peace there and rightly so. Discounting the Second World War and numerous other skirmishes, the developing war in Kosovo is the Fourth Balkan War. The Czech Republic already hosts a great number of "Former Yugoslavs" and of Albanians, ...

International Abandonment of the Roma (Gypsies) in Former Yugoslavia
Dr. Karin Waringo - 12/14/2005
Do not even bother to ignore this. This typically Austrian expression, meaning that an issue should be given the lowest possible attention, could very well summarise the 'international community's' attitude towards the fate and destiny of the Kosovo Roma. Provided the so-called standards are fulfilled, discussions over the final status of the UN-administrated province may well begin by the mid of this year. These standards refer to a set of conditions encompassing almost any area of social life such as the freedom of media or the implementation of free market reforms. They also involve the ful...

Zoran against the World - Entrepreneurship in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2005
Technologically, it is probably the most advanced printing facility in the Balkan. It cost almost $2.5 million. It was constructed in less than a year. And it is in dirt-poor and war-torn Macedonia.

The Myth of Great Albania - III. More History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/31/2005
For Albania, the Ottoman occupation was an unmitigated misfortune. Albania - culturally, a veritable part of Italy in the past - was cut off from it and from the Renaissance it spawned. The Turks brought with them their venal type of devastation, not only economic, not only physical, not only in human lives - but also cultural. A gangrenous paralysis ensued. The lucky quarter of the population escaped to Italy. The others were left to fight it out through civil disobedience (refusal to pay taxes, to serve in the army, to surrender their weapons) and in open rebellion, time and again, indefatig...

The Myth of Great Albania - IV. Modern History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/31/2005
Zog commenced his 14 years long reign first as president and then as king (Zog the first, needless to add). He ruled over a time bomb. The forces he suppressed with his foreign backed army were rather alive and well, though in an underground sort of way. In dire need of funds, after the self-inflicted destruction of his country, Zog resorted to mortgaging it to foreign powers such as italy. Italy collected on its loans in 1939, when it invaded Albania on the way to its Balkan treasure hunt. King Zog rule of beys and bajraktars aided by a ruthless police, a byzantine bureaucracy (a major employ...

The Myth of Great Albania - II. History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2005
From Illyrium to Skanderberg

There is very little dispute among serious (that is, non-Greek, non-Macedonian and non-Serb) scholars that the Albanians are an ancient people, the descendants of the Illyrians or (as a small minority insists) the Thracians. The Albanian language is a rather newer development (less than 1500 years old) - but it is also traced back either to Thracian or to Illyrian. In a region obsessed with history, real and (especially) invented, these 4000 year old facts are of enormous and practical import.

The Myth of Great Albania - I. Introduction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2005
To the politicians of the Balkans - almost without exception corrupt and despised by their own constituencies - the myth of Great Albania comes handy. It keeps the phobic Macedonians, the disdainful Serbs and the poor and crime ridden Albanians united and submissive - each group for differing reasons.

Greeks Bearing Gifts - Greek Investments in the Balkans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/28/2005
On December 10, 2001 the Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group, proposed a solution to the Greek-Macedonian name dispute. It was soon commended by the State Department. The Greeks and Macedonians were more lukewarm but positive all the same. The truth, though, is that Macedonia is in no position to effectively negotiate with Greece. The latter - through a series of controversial investments - came to virtually own the former's economy. So many Greek businessmen travel to Macedonia that Olympic Airways, the Greek national carrier began regular flights to its neighbor's capital. ...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - X. The Macedonian Lottery
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2005
Every conflict has its economic moments and dimensions. The current conflict in Macedonia perhaps even more so. The USA and its Western allies regard Macedonia as a bridge between Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. Hence the EU's plans for the revival of transport corridors 8 and 10 connecting these countries. If all goes well (and nothing has hitherto), railways will connect Bulgaria to Macedonia and river traffic will flow to Serbia from its southern neighbours. All this is envisioned in the Stability Pact. There are talks of an oil pipeline across Macedonia's territory. A pacified Macedonia is fairly crucial to Serbia's recovery and to the prospects of the whole region to attract FDI.

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - IX. Interview with Svetozar Janevski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2005
Svetozar Janevski is the patriarch of Macedonian industry. The CEO of Macedonia's largest brewery ("Pivara Skopje" - he resigned in 2005), partner with the likes of Coca Cola and Heinekken and the licencee of McDonald's in Macedonia - he reifies both continuity and the changing times. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of SECI (Southeast Co-operative Initiative) "This interview is my personal opinions - not in my capacity as CEO and not on behalf of my business partners" - he makes clear.

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VIII. Interview Macedonian Finance Minister Nikola Gruevski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/25/2005
The Minister of Finance of the Republic of Macedonia is an unenviable position nowadays. It is a small country (9,600 sq. miles, 2 million inhabitants) and one of the poorest in Europe (1,900 US dollars GDP per capita). Saddled by its socialist past and an Albanian insurgency  largely imported from Kosovo, across its northern border  it still managed to grow by more than 5% last year and to reform its economy substantially.

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VII. Interview with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/25/2005
Macedonia – a landlocked country at the southeastern tip of the Balkan, bordering Yugoslavia, Albanian, Bulgaria, and Greece – has been coping with an Albanian armed insurgency since February this year. The insurgents – collectively known as the NLA (National Liberation Army, or UCK in Albanian) – are comprised of commanders with experience in Kosovo and recruits from Macedonia's Albanian population. The NLA demanded improved civil rights, human rights, enhanced participation in the police and public administration (to reflect the Albanians' share of the population, officially c. 24%), and the...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VI. Interview with Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2005
[The interview was conducted by Sam Vaknin during the civil war crisis in 2001]The Prime Minister of Macedonia is a sad and disappointed man. A youthful 35 years old poet and man of letters (he published three books of experimental literature), he genuinely aches the recent events and his shattered dream of peaceful co-existence. Mr. Georgievski was the first Deputy-Premier of his country in 1991 and was elected Prime Minister in November 1998.

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - V. The Brink and the Cusp
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2005
"For years Hannibal's army roamed freely, ravaging much of Italy while no Roman army dared confront him ... The Romans were forced to fight for sixteen years ... suffering fearful casualties and terrible economic damage before they were able to prevail."
Donald Kagan, "On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace", Doubleday, New York, 1995

The first phase of the civil war in Macedonia in 2001 has ended in what misleadingly looks like a resounding Albanian victory. The Albanians maintain effective control of Western Macedonia and have proceeded to ethnically cleanse it of its Maced...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - III. The Disingenuous Dialogue
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2005
NATO and the EU - and to a lesser extent the USA - are committed to preserving Macedonia's stability. The main transport corridors connecting the reformed Yugoslavia to Greece cross Macedonia. KFOR's supply routes and logistical bases are in Macedonia. NATO's southern flank - comprising the ever adversarial Turkey and Greece - may itself be destabilized by an inter-religious conflict in the cradle of Orthodox Christianity. Add to this the destabilizing and radicalizing impact upon the delicate fabric of Kosovo of the throngs of Albanian refugees from Macedonia and NATO's involvement becomes mo...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - IV. Thucydides' Honour
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2005
"People make war because of: honour, fear, and interest."

"(Commerce is) rapidly rendering war obsolete by strengthening and multiplying the personal interests which act in natural opposition to it."
- J.S. Mill - "Principles of Political Economy" - London, 1848

"If commerce were permitted to act to the universal extent it is capable, it would extirpate the system of war."
- Thomas Paine - "The Rights of Man" - London, 1894

Macedonia's Framework Agreement: II. Macedonia at a Crossroads
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2005
Western pressures, mainly the EU's and NATO's, yielded an agreement between Macedonian and Albanian political parties regarding the future of Macedonia (the Ohrid Framework Agreement). But such an agreement was bound to be rejected by both Macedonians and Albanians who already deeply distrust both their own politicians and the West. In the medium term this may lead to vigilantism and sporadic fighting and atrocities by paramilitary groups.

Macedonia's Framework Agreement: I.Surviving the Uprising
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2005
Macedonia is a small (25,000 sq. km.) landlocked country in the Balkan. It serves as a natural bridge between Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. As an inevitable result, its economy consists mainly of trading, services, low-tech, low value added industries, such as textile and plastics, and agriculture. Countries such as Slovenia and Germany import wine from Macedonia, bottle it, label it and re-sell it at a much higher price. This pattern is repeated with tobacco and a host of other agricultural produce. Italian designers contract with family textile firms to seasonally manufacture for them. The banking sector is basic, though privately owned.

Former Yugoslavia: Notes from an Imploding Empire
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/4/2005
I live in the outskirts of an imploding empire. Fuzzy human figures, bloodied in black and white, lynch senior politicians in full view of cameras. The parliament building is smoking. When empires die - and Yugoslavia has always been a Serbian empire - they do not explode. They reverberate and rumble and collapse upon themselves. They shed gangrenous organs - molested provinces, mutilated colonies and rageful subjects. They constrict and fold and crumble, often with deafening silence. An obituary of dust and sepia photographs.

The Eastern Question Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2005
When the USSR disintegrated virtually overnight, in 1989, its demise was often compared to that of the Ottoman Empire's. This was a very lacking comparison. Turkey's death throes lasted centuries and its decomposition was taken to be so certain that its division and partition (the "Eastern Question") animated European geopolitics for the better part of two centuries. Yet, both left a power vacuum in the Balkan in their sorry wake.

No Albanian Intifada!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2005
A few of my colleagues in the international media compared the latest clashes between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia to the two Palestinian intifadas ("uprisings" in 1987-93 and from September 2000) in Israel. In doing so, they demonstrated their ignorance of the two regions and the four peoples involved.

Milosevic's Treasure Island
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2005
Milosevic and his cronies stand accused of plundering Serbia's wealth - both pecuniary and natural. Yet, the media tends to confuse three modes of action with two diametrically opposed goals. There was state sanctioned capital flight. Gold and foreign exchange were smuggled out of Yugoslavia and deposited in other countries. This was meant to provide a cushion against embargo and sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia by the West.

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
6. Serbs were always anti-Western and the USA was First Involved Militarily in the Balkans during the Kosovo Crisis

The First World War pitted the most unlikely enemies against one another. Austria, Turkey's most avowed enemy, attacked Turkey's other mortal foe, Serbia. Bulgaria, which collaborated with Serbia, Russian and Greece against the Ottomans in the First Balkan War - joined the Turks against its former allies. The Albanians collaborated enthusiastically with Turkey's adversary, Austria, against the Serbs. They were rewarded handsomely. The Austrians made Albanian an official languag...

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
In her book "The Culture of Lies", University of Pennsylvania, 1998, the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic says: "The Yugoslav war is a dispiriting tale about human solidarity. Very few people sympathized with the Slovenes, when the war began, just as the Slovenes themselves unanimously closed the doors of their new state immediately after the war. The Croats showed no solidarity to anyone, just as few showed any to the Croats. The Serbs had no sympathy for anyone at all, and no one showed any understanding for the Serbs. Few people had ever shown solidarity with the Albanians, just as Albanians were deaf to other people's troubles."

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
12. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia was Inevitable

Milosevic came to power (1987-9) on waves of popular support for his rabid nationalism and fake anti-establishment credentials. His first actions were directed at the Kosovo Albanians. He revoked their autonomy by altering the constitution. He demolished the educational and legal infrastructure of the region. And he applied bloody force to suppress street protests.

The Balkans and The Mind of Darkness
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/31/2005
" 'Group pathologies I am not buying. Not for the Balkans anyway. Collective responsibility, historical grievances, ancient ethnic hatreds, I don't buy any of it. It's good guys and bad guys. It's the dudes, like Ralph Waldo Emerson said. 'There is no history, only biography'. Yugos should read the man.'

'He would make no sense to them. In the Balkans, there is no way biography, only history. The dead rule and the living are ghosts.'"
(Baine Kerr, "Wrongful Death", Jove Books, New York, 2003)

Kosovo Confronts Its Future
Jackson Allers - 7/29/2005
KOSOVO. It is a regular sight in the Ferizai/Urosevac municipality of Kosovo - some 50 kilometers north of the Macedonian capital of Skopje - to see U.S. servicemen parking their Humvees in front of small cafes during their regular “security” details. M-16’s strapped across their torsos, the troops snack on kebabs, washing them down with Coca-Cola, and ogle the local Albanian girls.

Millenarian Thoughts About Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2005
"English persons, therefore, of humanitarian and reformist disposition constantly went out to the Balkan Peninsula to see who was in fact ill-treating whom, and, being by the very nature of their perfectionist faith unable to accept the horrid hypothesis that everybody was ill-treating everybody else, all came back with a pet Balkan people established in their hearts as suffering and innocent, eternally the massacree and never the massacrer."
("Black Lamb and Grey Falcon - A Journey through Yugoslavia" by Rebecca West - Penguin Books 1994 edition p.20)

Kosovo Roma Make a Dangerous Last Stand - Part II
Jackson Allers - 7/7/2005
Along the way to one of three makeshift Roma refugee camps with an official from the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), remnants of a former Yugoslav mining complex, the Trepca mines, go on for more than two miles, the many slag heaps indicating a past of heavy lead smelting.

Kosovo Roma Crisis - Part I
Eric S. Thompson - 7/6/2005
There is no shortage of tragedies when speaking of the Balkans, and recent history. In fact the Balkan’s recent history is one based on a long string of concurrent tragedies. Out of convenience, the issues are often narrowly discussed, resulting in further polarization of each respective side, and exclusion of those left unmentioned. Conversations turn to “Belgrade and Pristina” or “ethnic Albanians and Serbs” when in actuality, a comprehensive discussion of the situation should include many other groups of people. The Roma are one such group, hugely impacted, but rarely considered nor consulted when planning the future of Kosovo.

The Christiane Way: Amanpour's Reporting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/29/2005
"The primary role of journalists on the front lines is to do your best to tell a story in a situation when truth is not always readily available. It's also vital to tell what you see and question what you don't see, as well as to provide context to complicated issues."

"Some journalists might take too many risks, but risk and danger are inherent in combat reporting. We have to know the difference between calculated risk and foolish risks."

"There hasn't been a single time I've ever turned down an assignment because of the dangers involved."

Christiane Amanpour on Journalism (Interview gr...

The Balkans - The Titanic Waltz
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
The Austrian Embassy again held a Vienese Ball at the Alexander Palace Hotel in Skopje, Macedonia. It was as surrealistic as they get: a Viennese Ball in a decaying Balkan city in a land of former communist thieves turned capitalist robbers. It was held in a newly opened hotel, a gleaming temple of kitsch and tackiness, an abode of golden brass and polished mirrors amidst urban waste and uncollected mounds of festering trash. Hundreds of middle aged, burly diplomats and locals, all in ill fitting smokings, the women wearing sweaty, smeared make-up. A grotesque medley of decadence, a glimpse of...

Skopje - Where Time Stood Still
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/5/2005
Frozen at an early morning hour, the stony hands of the giant, cracked clock commemorate the horror. The earthquake that struck Skopje in 1963 has shattered not only its Byzantine decor, has demolished not merely the narrow passageways of its Ottoman past, has transformed not only its Habsburgian waterfront with its baroque National Theatre. The disastrous reconstruction, supervised by a Japanese architect, has robbed it of its soul. It has become a drab and sprawling socialist metropolis replete with monumentally vainglorious buildings, now falling into decrepitude and disrepair. The influx o...

Interview with Vladimir Chukov: Bulgaria - Past, Present, and Multiethnic Future
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2005
Vladimir Chukov is Associate Professor in the Bulgarian Centre for Middle East Studies and the Department of Administrative and Political Sciences in Varna Free University.

Balkan Intellectuals - The Poets and the Eclipse
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2005
Poets in Somalia hold an inordinate sway over the indigenous population. They sing the praises of war with the same alacrity and vehemence that they invest in glorifying peace. And the population listens and follows these dark skinned pied pipers. Lately, they have been extolling peace and peace prevails in Somaliland and the other state-like enclaves in this tortured shadow of a country.

Serbian Journalism after Communism & Milosevic
Rod Amis - 4/17/2005
In June of this year, Milan Pantic, an outspoken journalist for the daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti(Evening News), was shot in the back in front of his own home. Pantic, a quiet, highly educated man was believed to have had "too sharp a pen." While the journalistic community in Belgrade mourned his assassination, it drove home something that every reporter and writer in Serbia knows: things have changed, but they also remain the same. The memory of the heroic struggle for a free press in Serbia by Slavko Curuvija, the editor and owner of Dnevni Telegraf (Daily Telegraph), was still fresh in ...

KLA - The Army of Liberation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/29/2005
"(There is a growing tendency among foreign observers) to identify the criminal with the honest, the vandal with the civilized, the mafiosi with the nation."
Former Albanian President Sali Berisha

"They were terrorists in 1998 and now, because of politics, they're freedom fighters."
Jerry Seper, quoting an anonymous "top drug official" who refers to a 1998 State Department report, in the article "KLA Finances War with Heroin Sales", Washington Times, May 3, 1999

"The Albanian villages are much better, much richer than the Serbian ones. The Serbs, even the rich ones, don't build fine ...

Black Hand: The Dream of Greater Serbia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/28/2005
The IMRO was a populist organization established by intellectuals (as such groups often do) but staffed by peasant, lumpenproletariat and dwellers of the slums formed by Macedonian refugees all over the Balkans and especially in Sofia. Its members swore allegiance on a bible and a gun - two universally potent symbols. The nationalist-terrorist movement which bore the improbable by-name of "The Black Hand" was no such thing. It was elitist - only members of the officer corps and government officials could join. But the two shared an ethos and methods of operation. The IMRO sought to liberate th...

Yugoslavia: The Insurgents and the Swastika
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/28/2005
"Even going back ten years it was easy to see something gripping Yugoslavia by the throat. But in the years since then the grip has been tightened, and tightened in my opinion by the dictatorship established by King Alexander Karageorgevitch. This dictatorship, however much it may claim a temporary success, must inevitably have the effect of poisoning all the Yugoslav organism. Whether the poisoning is incurable or not is the question for which I have sought an answer during two months in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and central Europe."
"Black Hand over Europe" by Henri Pozzi, 1935

Terrorists and Freedom Fighters in the Balkans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2005
"'Unbounded' morality ultimately becomes counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality."
Thomas Sowell

There's a story about Robespierre that has the preeminent rabble-rouser of the French Revolution leaping up from his chair as soon as he saw a mob assembling outside."I must see which way the crowd is headed", he is reputed to have said: "For I am their leader." People who exercise violence in the pursuit of what they hold to be just causes are alternately known as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters".

Macedonia to the Macedonians
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2005
"Two hundred and forty five bands were in the mountains. Serbian and Bulgarian comitadjis, Greek andartes, Albanians and Vlachs ... all waging a terrorist war."
Leon Sciaky in "Farewell to Salonica: Portrait of an Era"

"(Goce Delcev died) cloak flung over his left shoulder, his white fez, wrapped in a bluish scarf, pulled down and his gun slung across his left elbow..."
Mihail Chakov, who was nearby Delcev at the moment of his death, quoted in "Balkan Ghosts" by Robert D. Kaplan

"I will try and tell this story coldly, calmly, dispassionately ... one must tone the horrors down, for in...

How the West Killed Djindjic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2005
Precisely two years ago, in March 2003, the West killed Serbia's Prime Minister since January 2001, Zoran Djindjic. By forcing him, at times against his better judgment, to surrender one more war criminal, to pursue yet another mobster, to eliminate the remaining subsidies that rendered tolerable the drab and destitute lives of Serbs - the West cast Djindjic as its lackey.

Macedonia - Why the Framework Agreement will Fail - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
Every conflict has its economic moments and dimensions. The current conflict in Macedonia perhaps even more so. The USA and its Western allies regard Macedonia as a bridge between Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. Hence the EU's plans for the revival of transport corridors 8 and 10 connecting these countries. If all goes well (and nothing has hitherto), railways will connect Bulgaria to Macedonia and river traffic will flow to Serbia from its southern neighbours. All this is envisioned in the Stability Pact. There are talks of an oil pipeline across Macedonia's territory. A pacified Macedonia is fairly crucial to Serbia's recovery and to the prospects of the whole region to attract FDI.

Macedonia - Why the Framework Agreement will Fail - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
"…Many Macedonians contend they were forced to make concessions on an accelerated timetable only because of the ethnic Albanian insurgency. Javier Solana, foreign policy chief of the EU, rejected that charge saying, 'violence has not dictated the pace of progress'. Asked if the force of arms was the father of today's agreement, Ferat Fazliu, a rebel in Tetovo, said 'of course'."

Book Review: Fragmentation of Yugoslavia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2005
Book Title: The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia (2nd Edition)
Author: Aleksandar Pavkovic
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (USA) and Macmillan Press (UK)
Month, Year of publication: October 2000
Number of pages: 243



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